A/N: Hello guys! Im back! Sorry for the long wait, I hope you can forgive my tardiness. I've been so busy lately that It has been almost impossbile to continue. Well, anyway there are few things you should know: First, vote is over. Sai WILL go to the academy. That's that. Second, this chapter begins my promised 'ANBU saga' so i hope you enjoy this filler season much as possible. Thirdly, Im a critical on myself and I have to be honest about this chapter, I think its not that great. I didnt feel like writing it so... this is what i got. Does it suck much as I think it does? Tell me. Review!
Please, try and enjoy the story!
Chapter 12: Voices in the dark
Earth country. Rokku no Sato. City on the eastern border. Night. The research bureau of the city. Outside the main gate.
Two guards were standing still trying to survive in the coldness of the night.
"I hate this." The other one muttered. "Guarding an empty building in a night like this! Who would be crazy enough to try doing anything in a night like this?"
"Hn." The other one couldn't say anything else. His lips must have frozen solid.
"You know, I would rather have my throat cut than suffer this freezing air." First one muttered.
At the same time, two figures rushed out of the building.
"Wha-" Kunai stabbed mans neck before he even could notice it. The other guard pulled the kunai off and puffed. Guard transformed into a shinobi with a white mask. Mask had Seal painting on it.
"Success. Let's move out!" Fox singed and others nodded. "Hyena, hold the rear. Seal, scout ahead. Move out!"
At the same moment a group of Iwa shinobis rushed towards them.
"We have been noticed." Seal pointed out.
"A formation. I take the lead. Reach the checkpoint." Fox commanded. "Don't look back."
"Hai!" Both obeyed.
They run through the streets of the city avoiding patrols and chasers best they could. Sun was starting to rise. "We don't have time."
Fox glanced over his shoulder. Pursuers charged ahead. A kunai flew next to his face. He could feel how the wind scratched the mask. He took a scroll out of his pocket. "Seal! Take this home! We divert them! Go."
"Should we fight?" Hyena asked. "Victory is possible."
"Danzo-samas orders were: find the object. Get it to the rendezvous point. Avoid contact." Fox explained. "If we were to fight, our cover would be completely exposed. Seal, GO!" He dropped a smoke bomb covering for him.
Without second of hesitation, the seal masked boy jumped away from the group at full speed. As the smoke cleared, Fox glanced over his shoulder. "As expected." Most of the pursuer's evaded from the main team and chased after Seal. "Hyena, drop the bombs! Three seconds."
"Hai." He took out ten explosive tags and dropped them. There was a giant explosion at the street destroying nearby buildings. There was nothing left but rubble.
"Head count!" Iwa captain yelled.
There were two answers.
"What about the others?" Captain asked.
"Three and seven are okay. Just knocked out. Two and five are dead." Someone answered.
"Damn! What about the intruders?"
"No sing of them. Must be a suicide attempt to take out all us." A man snorted. "Good idea but bad timing. Luckily we were able to dispatch most of the guys after that third guy."
"Four, take three and seven to the hospital. Six, lets go back up the rest of the guys." The captain ordered.
Two minutes after they were gone, two rocks puffed out of the rubble and two young boys in ANBU masks stood there. "Let's move out."
"Decoy." Fox answered.
"Mediocre. Let's move out." Fox turned and rushed ahead.
"Danzo-kun, my old friend. How nice it's to see you." A Brunette man said who was smiling coldly while bowing to his counterpart. "How long has it been? Ten years?"
"Twelve to be accurate." Danzo answered with even colder smile. "The mission in the Bird country." He touched his bandages. "Really brings back memories."
"So unfortunate accident indeed." Uzumaki Tsuujirogo agreed. "You lost your arm and half of your face because of my carelessness."
"Life is about learning." Danzo answered as he as down behind his desk and pointed his guest to follow the example. "So, Tsuujirogo-san, what brings you here?"
"I have some business with the Fire Daimyo and I was on my way to the capital when I realized that it has been far too long since I last met my dear old team mate."
"I see…" Danzo muttered. The door was knocked.
"Excuse me." Saito entered the office holding a tray with two cups of tea. "I thought you might want some refreshments."
"My God! Is it the little Horitsu-san?" Uzumaki head said with a smiled. "Last time I saw you, you were just a little genin in Danzo-kuns team. And you still work for him. How nice."
"Im his assistant." Woman nodded. "Im honoured that Uzumaki-sama still remembers me."
"Always so polite." Tsuujirogo nodded acceptably. "Politeness… that's a wonderful word. Imagine a world without politeness." He narrowed his eyes. The smile had left his face. He had a harsh, angry expression slowly forming to it. "I need some explanations."
"Saito." Danzo muttered. The woman bowed quickly and left the room. They were left alone. "What do you mean?" He asked with doubting voice. Playing innocent wouldn't work anymore. Actually, Danzo didn't remember when playing innocent had ever worked with Tsuujirogo.
"Don't try to feed me crap Danzo!" He said warningly. "I've seen through you ever since I was transferred to the Leaf as an ambassador of Whirlpool. I want to know why you've been using my clan name so publicly."
"What you mean?"
"I've been contacted by Konohas Hyuuga clan." Tsuujirogo explained. "They have been asking if I would be able to agree on an arrange marriage between two of our houses between their clan heads daughter and my grandson. The most curious thing is that, I don't remember having any grandsons. So, would you be so kind and explain what is going on that genius mind of yours. And don't even try feed me any lies. I know you well enough to realize when you lie to me."
Danzo hardened his gaze also. "That information is classified and only available high-ranking Konoha nins. Which you are not part of."
Tsuujirogo leaned back. "Shall I take this to Hokage then? I believe that man understand how important our support is to Konoha especially after Uchiha massacre."
"You're not doing this easy to me, are you?" Danzo muttered under his breath. "Fine. I will tell you what you want to know. But this information is double S ranking security information. If this information leaves this room, you can be sure I will send all my personal assassins to your doorstep. Understood?"
Tsuujirogo nodded acceptably.
"Saito." Danzo said quickly and the door was slid open. "Call captain Misachi here."
"As you wish." The woman bowed and slid the door closed.
"Will this Misachi answer to my questions?"
"Yes she will. She has been watching very closely this program." Danzo pulled out a file. "You wanted to know. Didn't you?"
"Then tell me already and stop wasting both our time."
Danzo frowned. "No need to be so hasty."
Door was knocked again and Saito slid the door open. "Excuse me. Misachi-taichou has arrived. Shall I send her in?"
Hana stepped in wearing her armour and mask on but halted when she recognized man sitting opposite to Danzo. She was bewaring of letting any sings of surprise to be leaked out.
"So, you go under Misachi now, do you?" Tsuujirogo muttered. "Akahana."
Hana removed her mask. "I had to change my name when I was kicked out from the clan."
"If you had only married who I chose to you, none of this would have happened." Her father said angrily. "Is your sister here somewhere also? I would have thought she'd come to greet me."
"You don't know?" Hana asked paling slightly.
"Hina-neechan died… over seven years ago…" Not to her surprise, her father took the information quite well. Like he wasn't surprised at all. "Danzo-sama," She turned to the bandaged man. "May I ask what Im doing here? Im on the patrol duty."
"Im aware but this goes before that." He answered. "He wants to learn everything about your… nephew."
"Nephew?" Tsuujirogo asked. "You mean…"
"Yes. Your precious and good daughter, Kushina had a child while staying here." Hana answered voice full of bitterness. "What you want of him?"
"To meet him of course." Tsuujirogo answered. "If this boy is indeed Kushinas son, he is my clan's heir."
"But what about Seiro-niichan? Doesn't he come before?"
"Seiro died without any sons. Only one daughter who was going to be married to some vassal clans who would take over the Uzumaki after my time but… Kushina had a son… where is he? I want to meet him soon as possible."
"Captain?" Danzo asked.
"Fox hasn't yet reported in from the mission from Earth. He is supposed to meet up with his back-up at the rendezvous point at seventeen hundred hours today." She reported little nervously. This was Narutos first big mission without her or anyone else. She could only hope he would be safe.
"Fox?" Tsuujirogo asked. "You don't mean…?"
"Your grandson is part of my Root division yes. Actually captain of that division." Danzo nodded. "There are… lot of… circumstances which you might want to look into before doing any… hasty decisions about him." He handed the file to his old team mate who snapped it away.
"So, Kushina was going to marry fourth Hokage. Not bad chose at all. Died during the Kyuubi attack. A boy survived the birth but only barely and… WHAT!?!?!?" He looked up to Danzo. "He is a Jichuuriki?"
"Very much so, yes." He nodded. "But you can believe me, that wasn't my idea at all. I only learned about after it was sealed inside him."
Tsuujirogo read his grandsons file quickly through and through and it only made him angrier. "He is the son of the Fourth and they tried to kill him just like that? What the hell is matter in your village?"
"People were sad, flustered and afraid. They didn't see Mikato-kun as a hero he was supposed to be seen but as a demon of which prison he is."
"This says you 'killed' him three years ago?"
"Yes. The Hokage and I agreed that it would be best for him if he would transfer under my supervision where he could be trained to be a ninja."
"You mean a living weapon like all other Jichuurikis."
"No. Not yet. We haven't reached that point we could harvest Kyuubis chakra. But soon as we can, we will. So much strength which just lies there, waiting to be used." Danzo leaned back. "He was fated to be a living weapon from the moment he was birth. You may blame me, but it was your daughter who run away from you and it was Yondaime who sealed the demon inside him, but blaming them doesn't change anything. Especially the fact that your grandsons and Kyuubis fates have been sealed together."
"That Yondaime was lucky to die that day. If he were alive now, I would start a war against Konoha just to get my hands on him." He tightened his crib on his cane. "I will take him with me."
"You heard me. I will take him away from this rotten village and raise him to be a true leader of the Uzumaki clan."
"You can't do that." Danzo shook his head. "Jichuuriki of our village is our village's property. No matter how much you want to go fishing with your grandson, Hokage will never approve it. Letting another military force to gain such a powerful weapon is foolish."
"You can't stop me from taking him with me." Tsuujirogo argued. "Im his grandfather…"
"Akahana here is his legal guardian authorized by both your daughters and Yondaimes will, Hokage and me. She has full power over him until he is twelve. And if you even consider something as kidnapping, may I remind you that he is an ANBU of Konoha. He is trained for those situations as well and if he would ever allow himself being captured, he should end his life as soon as possible."
Both Hana and Tsuujirogo looked at him horrified. "You really are that same cold, manipulative bastard you always have been." He muttered.
"You flatter me." He smiled politely. "But what ever it takes, I will protect Konoha and make it strongest ninja village in the entire world."
Fox jumped up and dodged a kunai which nicked his leg. "Hyena, do you copy?" He yelled to his head peace.
"Hyena copy." His team mate's voice answered back.
"We are two hours from the rendezvous point. And the amount of our chasers has been increased. I have a team full of high chunin. What's your status?"
"Two jonins gaining up fast." Hyena answered after a short time. "What should we do?"
Fox thought fast as he could. Four chunins and two jonins. He and Hyena were out matched by far. They could take on the chunin but jonin had simply too much experience and speed on their side so he couldn't risk compromising the mission if he were to fight against them. But they couldn't just keep on running. Sooner or later they would be outrun and captured and mission would be a failure.
He dodged this time by leaping like a tiger to the ground. He could hear two chunins following him closely. He straightened his leg and kicked from a tree, making himself spinning. He released all his senbons throwing them towards the two. He could see how dozens of needles punctured their skin, hitting several pressure points. None of the attacks were lethal, his opponents had been on their guards enough to avoid death but they couldn't continue their pursuit anymore. "Take the scroll to the rendezvous point. I will follow you soon as I have cleared our chasers."
"Copy that." Hyena repeated without hesitating. He started running towards his captain, crossing his path, leading two jonins directly into Foxes arms. As they tried to continue their pursuit, pass him, Fox threw his gusari, cutting their roads forcing them to acknowledge his presence.
"I will not let you pass." He said calmly without a drop of fear before throwing another senbon ray towards them.
"Jump back!" Team leader yelled and avoided the attack. Iwa nins formed a single formation against Fox. "Listen brat, we don't know which village you are from and we don't care. If you were just to give back the scroll, we might let you leave alive."
Fox didn't respond in any kind of manner. He just looked calmly from behind his mask.
"Fine. You two, wait here. Soon as we get this brat out of the way, you continue the pursuit the other one. Don't let him outside of our borders. Understood?"
"Yes." One jonin and chunin nodded.
"Okay then," He pulled out a kunai. "Let me take your life!" He charged ahead with full speed. Fox was only barely able to dodge the blow but he was hit by an elbow to his guts. He was sent flying towards a tree. "Go!" Jonin yelled and the rest of his team started to move out. That was until there was an explosive tag which appeared beneath their feet, blowing them all up. "What the-"
Iwa jonin was sent flying back by Foxes kick and met with dozen kunai in his back. Those hits weren't lethal either and only barely punctured through his armour but he was forced to pull back for a moment.
At the same moment, Seal appeared to the clearing. He was panting and his arm was bleeding heavily. "I've reached you… taichou."
"Thirteen, eight, tree, daimyo, princess." Fox said quickly. "Dancing in the moonlight…"
"Twelve, sixteen, flower, queen, prince." Seal answered. "we shall do our duty."
"Good to have you back." Fox nodded. "Can you move?"
"Then let's move. You continue after Hyena. I will hold the attackers back."
"Copy that." Seal jumped up the tree and started running after his team mate but very much slower than preferred.
"Damn you." Iwa jonin muttered as he landed in front of them. "Look what you did to my team!"
Fox didn't answer. He pulled out his gusari and took his fighting stance. "Oh, so you want to fight, huh? Fine, I guess I could play with you." He pulled out another kunai and charged ahead. This time his speed was reduced greatly due the blood loss and pain. Fox was able to dodge his attacks but not to counter. He jumped back and tried to grab his hand but his hand slipped and jonin was able to stab his hand. Then he kicked into Foxes guts making him cough blood inside his mask and before he could react, kunai stabbed through his armour. "Die!" Iwa jonin screamed and pushed his weapon deep as he could.
Inside the fox mask, Naruto started to realize what had happened. He was defeated and so, killed. Everything was becoming dark. His chest hurt. He didn't understand at all.
"Pathetic." A completely new voice interrupted him.
"W-who are you?" Naruto asked from the voice. Everything became more and more darker by the second.
"I just might be your saviour." Voice answered. "But for now, you must look after both of us."
"K-kyuubi…?" Seven years old Naruto had just met his prisoner.
"The one and only. Now boy, sleep. I will take care of this while you're sleeping." Naruto didn't understand but he couldn't keep up anymore. He closed his eyes and accepted nothingness he was engulfed.
"What you mean?" Danzo asked while Sai was giving the report. It had been three days since the meeting with the Uzumaki head and today was the day he was supposed to meet up with his newly found grandson.
"Taichou ordered us to complete the mission and decided to stay behind to hold back the enemy."
"I gave you a mission to guard him at all cost." Danzo reminded Sai with hard tone on his voice. "Get away!"
Sai nodded obediently and disappeared.
Saito watched as Danzo closed his eyes and started to think. "What should we do?" She asked.
"We have to presume the worse, that the Fox has been killed. But that alone isn't enough. His body can't be allowed to fall into to hands of the Iwa. Send a fresh team to find what happened to him."
"As you wish."
Naruto opened his eyes, it was midday. He couldn't tell anything else. He scanned the area. It was similar place where he had lost consciousness but it was different. Like a huge battle had been gone through there while he had been sleeping. He moved his hand to find it touching something… sticky. It was a bloody corpse of the Iwa jonin. He was in… several places.
Naruto checked his own body. There were no painful areas anywhere nor did he have any wounds. It seemed that he was fully healed, which was strange watching great holes in his armour. He noticed his mask on the ground. It was in shards and could hardly be used as a mask anymore. He took biggest piece and placed it to cover his face. His left eye and part of his right cheek was now covered.
He scanned around. He was alone. He wondered what time it was or how long he had been out. Judging from the sun, it was midday. Realizing that I wouldn't help to wait there any longer he decided to move to the rendezvous point. He jumped to the tree and started running towards the place where he was supposed to meet up with his team, if they had survived.
He travelled two days straight without any kind of exhaustion which he found most curious. His body didn't show any sings of tiring. He reached the meeting spot on the second morning. But how much he was late, he wondered. There was no-one around until he felt a chakra signature. Team of ANBUs jumped in front of him. He recognized them being from his own group members. He raised his fingers and lowered one down. All ANBUs shifted their legs.
"Status report." Fox demanded.
"Four days missing. Sent for retrieve your body."
"I understand." Fox nodded. "I need a new mask. Anyone?"
One of the Roots threw him a small sealing scroll. Fox unsealed it and placed a new, blank mask on his face. He also took some light armour and new set of kunais. He had searched around for his gusaris but he had lost his two longer ones. Without grieving any longer, he took the lead naturally and headed to Konoha.
"Glad to see you alive, Fox." Danzo nodded approvingly when his own private captain knelt before him. "And you accomplished the mission. Im most pleased. Others dismissed. You will give the debriefing personally."
Others bowed and disappeared out of the office.
"Remove the mask."
Naruto revealed his face to him. "I have returned."
"What is it?"
He looked confused. "What you mean?"
Danzo smirked. "You're troubled. I can see that obviously. What is it?"
Naruto gulped. For the first time in long time, he didn't know how to tell about it. "I… Im scared."
"Explain." Danzo frowned.
Naruto told what had happened during his time alone.
"So… the mighty Kyuubi has revealed himself to you, has he?" Danzo couldn't help himself.
"At least believe it's the Kyuubi." Naruto answered little confused. "I can't think anything else it could be."
"And then you lost consciousness?" Danzo confirmed.
"Yes. He told me to rest and that he would take care of things."
"And this jonin you were fighting with, ended up in peaces?"
"Yes. He including the landscape had been destroyed."
"I see…" Danzo nodded. "I'll have you fully checked at the infirmary immediately. If you feel even slightest changes, you must inform about it to one of your tutors at the spot."
"Now, go." He waved his hand. "Akahana-san has been going berserk out of worry so you need her much as she needs you."
"Worry? Why?" Naruto asked normally confused again.
Danzo only sighed. "Sometimes I wonder why I even bother. Now, go." After Naruto had left the office, he raised his head. "So, what you think, of the heir of Uzumaki clan?"
Tsuujirogo stepped from the shadows nodding approvingly. "I'll say… obedient, strong eyes, good posture, reminds me slightly of my own son. If I were to introduce him to the vassals, successor problems would be solved in an instant."
"Bad thing that you can't have him." Danzo observed at him from the corner of his eye.
"You still say that?" His old team mate asked. "Under no condition?"
"I can hardly see what can you offer to me, in equal value to Kyuubis power, off which he is about to be ready to harvest." Danzo smirked.
"We can always discuss of this." Tsuujirogo answered and sat down, facing him. "And there are other ways of securing the continuation of the Uzumaki name. It's a deal which benefits both my clan and your village."
"What you mean?"
Tsuujirogo smiled kindly. "Did you know that my granddaughter, Narutos cousin is about the same age as he is?"